MANILA, OCTOBER 21, 2003  WORDS WORTH By Mons Romulo- Tantoco  - Theyíre our homes away from home. No matter how much time you spend outside your hotel in a foreign country, coming back to a great one after a day of shopping, sightseeing or business meetings spells the difference between an enjoyable trip and an excruciating one. Weíve all heard of horror stories about hotels from hell, but this time letís hear about those created in heaven Ė the ones where the staff anticipates your every move, where they know you by name, where the food is outstanding, where the pillows are fluffy and the beds are turned down in the evening, and where they truly make you feel at home with thoughtful service and warm hospitality.

In short, these are hotels that have earned every star in their ratings.

So letís read about the favorite hotels of this weekís well-traveled personalities.

Ambassador AMABLE R. AGUILUZ V, Special Envoy of the President to the Gulf Cooperation Council: In Manila my favorite hotels are the Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Shangri-La Edsa Plaza Hotel because of their very efficient business centers. In Dubai itís the Burj Al Arab Hotel. In the US itís the Marriott, Sheraton and Hilton Hotels in San Francisco. In Paris itís the Marriott and Hilton. In Hong Kong itís Island Shangri-La for the amenities.

MANNY PADILLA, businessman: Fridays Hotel in Boracay. Itís small, out of the way and private. Abroad, my favorite hotel is Mt. Washington in the northern East Coast in the US. Itís a very old hotel and where all the US Presidents stay. It has a golf course and horseback riding facilities. Itís beautiful and itís a legacy.

JOHNNY SANTOS, chairman, Nestlť Philippines: Itís in Mandarin Oriental Manila because itís clean and quiet. Abroad itís Raffles in Sin Beau Rivage in Switzerland because itís elegant and comfortable.

TINA MARISTELA OCAMPO, businesswoman: My favorite hotel in Tokyo is Park Hyatt for itís the closest to heaven. Imagine drinking coffee overlooking the clouds. In Hong Kong itís the Peninsula Hotel for they know your quirks, from hard pillows to your usual out-of-the-menu breakfast. Pen HK is all about service. In New York itís Mercer Hotel, the coolest hotel in the coolest place in NY.

Architect RAMON ANTONIO: My favorite hotel in Manila is Mandarin Oriental and in Paris itís Hotel de la Tremoille.

LUCILLE CARLOS, businesswoman: Itís hard to have just one favorite hotel so here goes: in Asia itís the Ritz Carlton in Bali; in Europe itís Hotel de Paris; in the US itís the Peninsula Beverly Hills. These hotels have excellent service, good food and of course, excellent bathroom facilities!

DONNIE TANTOCO, EVP and general manager, Shopwise: The Shangri-La Hotels have great, consistent service. You always know what to expect. The layout is the same all over the world, itís like coming home each time. They have great food outlets. I also like Four Seasons in Bali, the best honeymoon hotel. It has one of the most beautiful rooms and breathtaking gardens, and itís very romantic and private. It has great lobby shops, food outlets and a wonderful library with amazing books.

JAMBY MADRIGAL, civic leader: My favorite hotel in Manila is the Mandarin Oriental. The rooms are well decorated, not too flashy, and the hotel is discreet. It has a small lobby, good service and security, food outlets, and an air of understated elegance.

In London my favorite is Claridges. I love the art deco style of the hotel. It brings one back to the times of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. No artifice here, just elegance, discretion and superb service. Itís like living in somebody elseís house. You donít sign anything when you order room service and eat in the restaurants. Pure English understatement and class.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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